Reproductive Rights and the Long Hand of Slave Breeding
“If there is an upside to the right’s latest, seemingly loony and certainly grotesque multi-front assault on women, it is the clarion it sounds to humanists to take the high ground and ditch the anodyne talk of ‘a woman’s right to choose’ for the weightier, fundamental assertion of ‘a woman’s right to be.’
That requires that we look to history and the Constitution. I found myself doing that a few weeks back, sitting in the DC living room of Pamela Bridgewater, talking about slavery as the TV news followed the debate over whether the State of Virginia should force a woman to spread her legs and endure a plastic wand shoved into her vagina.
“….Since that conversation in Pamela’s living room, the anti-woman spring offensive has come on in full. Virginia lawmakers ended up imposing a standard ultrasound mandate rather than the ‘transvaginal’ version, one of at least ninety-two new regulations or restrictions that states have imposed on abortion since 2011, and one of at least 155 introduced in state legislatures since the start of the year.
Rush Limbaugh revealed himself to be astoundingly ignorant of female sexuality. Rick Santorum demonstrated many times over that, for him, no idea in ‘the sexual realm’ is too outlandish. They and their anti-woman allies have lobbed so many bombs it’s easy to get distracted, to assume a posture of defensive, and sometimes politically dicey, defense: but no federal money pays for abortion; women who delay child-bearing are more productive; the Pill eases painful periods; most of what Planned Parenthood does has nothing to do with abortion; contraceptives help against rheumatoid arthritis; Mrs. Santorum might have died under the fetal personhood platforms her husband touts; Sandra Fluke is not a slut…
What of it if she were? By any other name, ain’t she a woman? A human being? The descendants of slave masters have no more right to control her sexuality and reproductive organs, to deny her self-determination, than did their predecessors. Mother or slut, prostitute or daughter, law student or lazybones who just wants to have sex all day, she is heir in her person to a promise of universal freedom, one that does not make such distinctions but that recognizes an individual’s right to her life, her labor, her body and self-possession all as one. Forget trying to shut up a gasbag on the radio; there is a basic constitutional liberty to uphold.”
Read the whole thing: thenation.com